I knew from the beginning that if I wanted to be a maker, then I had to start with the easiest, and hardest, part of the instrument.
I had to develop a unique and distinct concept of sound that suited different kinds of players.
And what made it worse is that NO ONE would talk about how to cut a headjoint. Their sound is their secret!
It wasn't until David Straubinger took me aside, and explained the rules to me about headjoint cutting.
There are none.
"Aside from a few recommendations, no one will talk about it because no one really knows the rules..."
It's about studying the work of makers you admire, and a LOT of trial and error to develop your style. From there, it's a matter of whether or not your style works for someone else.
And that's how I learned to cut headjoints. A lot of geometry, a lot of mistakes, and several boxes worth of failures.
Over time though, I figured out what I wanted in a sound, and how to get the results I wanted.
It was about having a vision.
Tone: Clear, Focused and Sweet with a slightly smoky texture. Like Judy Garland, a sound full of joy and sorrow.
Presence: A 'tall' sound that is not spread or broad. A dense sound that blossoms to fill a room without being 'loud' or 'abrasive.'
Control: Like a car, I want an automatic transmission and cruise control. Set an intention, support with your air, and steer.
Playing should be easy!
A Checklist of Sound
They Found Their Sound...
KF, Atlanta GA
It really has just the SWEETEST Sound! Thank you!
AD, Greensboro NC
You really know how to cut a headjoint don't you? It's just fantastic!
JB, Pittsburgh PA
Can I just buy the whole box? I love them! In fact...
I will! I'll take them all!
Our first design, and the most popular amongst piccolo specialists. Named after Thomas Edison, oval in shape, this cut features unique undercutting that reduces turbulence to create a lush sound with a liquid core that blossoms as it leaves the stage. It is a universally adaptable cut that offers endless color in any playing environment.
Named after Alan Turing, this embouchure cut features the same oval shape and undercutting of the Edison, but features a steep relief on the blowing edge, allowing the player to enjoy optimal response without sacrificing color. It truly 'cracks the code' of piccolo performance.
The first of our squared designs. This cut is engineered for a large, bold sound with textural complexity derived from minimal overcutting and undercutting. Named after Marie Curie, this cut features moderate resistance and tonal flexibility that allows the performer to paint an aural canvas with an endless spectrum of color.
Named for Nikola Tesla, this is our boldest design. Sharing the same shape and undercutting of our Curie design, the Tesla features a steep relief on the blowing edge, creating a powerhouse of sound. Agile and flexible, this cut is free-blowing, clear, and can cut through any ensemble without losing the legendary color of the Pettry sound.
Named for Katherine Goble-Johnson, this is an oval wave cut that features an oval embouchure hole and custom carving that supports a player's launch into the piccolo stratosphere. Full bodied across the spectrum, this cut features moderate resistance and a plush texture throughout its range. One of our most popular cuts.
Named for Marsha P. Johnson, this cut breaks from the 'norm' as a squared wave as opposed to a traditional oval. This is a cut full of confidence and determination. A transformative chameleon of sound, this cut is bold and daring while also offering a gentle hand to the player as they transition from flute to piccolo.
Unfortunately, most piccolo headjoints aren't interchangeable between brands. But sometimes they are! Headjoint trials are currently only available for in-person appointments at the Flutistry location in Boston.